Sundance 2016: John Carney's New Film 'Sing Street' is Utterly Joyful
by Alex Billington
January 26, 2016
There's nothing like great music that makes you so happy you want to get up and dance. The latest film from John Carney, the Irish director who broke out with the musical Once at Sundance in 2007, is called Sing Street and it's utterly joyful. It's almost an Irish version of School of Rock amped up to 11, but there's such an unique, energetic, exciting vibe to it, I think it's time to proclaim Sing Street as the new winner of the Battle of the Bands. Sing Street so much fun to watch, but it's also genuinely passionate about encouraging the weirdos and oddballs to be whatever they want. Sing your heart out, fight against authority, be someone.
The film is another story that connects directly to the life of director John Carney, who introduced the world premiere at Sundance by telling the story about how he was living in his parents house, borrowing money from anyone who would give him some, to make Once. Sing Street is about the spirit of fighting for a better life, fighting for something bigger, with very few resources. One quiet kid who goes to a rowdy public school in Dublin in the 1980s decides to form a band featuring a funky team of ragtag friends. Together they make music videos and eventually play a gig at their school, and it's a story about overcoming bullying and the harshness of society by passionately expressing themselves in their own ways. I was smiling the whole film.
There's plenty of great music referenced throughout the film, including tracks from Duran Duran, The Cure, Genesis and many others. On top of that, however, the kids in the band realize they need to write their own music. So they start coming up with their own songs (co-written by John Carney) and they are wonderful. There is one track that they perform and the scene becomes a fantasy sequence, and it's amazing. It fully captures that feeling you have when you listen to one of your favorite songs, close your eyes, and imagine the world with that music playing as a soundtrack. I wanted to get up and start dancing right in the aisle.
Sing Street is such an electric, vibrant, lovable film. I honestly wish I was able to see it again at this festival, or that I had a copy of the soundtrack to listen to already, because it's that entertaining and left me in such a great mood. Tying everything together, the story in the film reminds us that we should always try to accomplish whatever we can no matter the resources we have, no matter how inadequate or stupid we may feel, it's the ambition and drive that matters. Sing Street is the kind of film you'll go into not knowing what to expect, but will walk out of with a smile on your face, ready to dance the night away to excellent music.
Alex's Sundance 2016 Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Follow Alex on Twitter - @firstshowing